Turkish frigate to depart for Somali piracy mission next week

Turkish frigate to depart for Somali piracy mission next week

A Turkish frigate will join an international coalition against Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden next week, a military spokesman told a weekly press briefing on Friday.

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TGC Giresun, equipped with two Augusta Bell helicopters, will depart on February 17 from the Aksaz navy base on the Mediterranean coast, General Metin Gurak was quoted by Anatolian Agency as saying.

 

The vessel will serve for four months on the new counter-piracy multinational task force, CTF 151, operating in and around the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, he added.

 

Last week, the Turkish parliament gave the government a one-year authorization to send ships to the Gulf of Aden to combat rampant piracy in the region.

 

Three Turkish vessels were hijacked in the Gulf of Aden in 2008, with the last of them being released on February 2.

 

A Turkish frigate already had served in the region under NATO, but the mission of that ship has expired and Turkey wants to contribute further to the anti-piracy efforts.

 

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Piracy is rife and well organized in the area where Somalia’s northeastern tip juts into the Indian Ocean, preying on a key maritime route leading to the Suez Canal. More than 130 ships were attacked in the area in 2008 alone.

 

The heavily armed pirates operate high-powered speedboats and sometimes hold ships for weeks before releasing them for large ransoms paid by governments or shipowners.

 

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